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Potassium and Pregnancy: Everything You Need to Know Darrell Miller 5/2/19
Why you need sodium, and how much is necessary? Darrell Miller 9/5/18
19 Natural Diuretics to Help Relieve Water Retention, Bloating &More VitaNet, LLC Staff 9/4/18
Health Benefits of Aconitum Napellus. Darrell Miller 6/28/14
Progesterone cream can Help Wtih PMS And Menopause Darrell Miller 3/13/14
The role played by iodine in weight management Darrell Miller 12/23/13
Can Guarana Boost Energy? Darrell Miller 1/24/13
Can Butcher's Broom Help Fight Varicose Veins? Darrell Miller 1/11/13
Triphala - Boost digestion, Improve Liver Function, Blood Sugar, Cholesterol And More Darrell Miller 5/27/11
Looking for weight management Results. Frustrated with yo-yo dieting. Darrell Miller 5/6/11
Horse Radish Darrell Miller 10/28/09
Hops And Good health Darrell Miller 9/20/09
Saffron Darrell Miller 7/28/09
ChickWeed Darrell Miller 6/16/09
alfalfa Darrell Miller 4/8/09
Bromelain Enzymes Darrell Miller 5/1/08
Fat Controls our hunger centers in the brain! Darrell Miller 4/4/08
Is Wild Yam Natures Progesterone? Darrell Miller 11/15/07
Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally Darrell Miller 3/28/07
WHY DO SO MANYWOMEN SUFFER FROM HORMONE IMBALANCES? Darrell Miller 7/25/05
SYMPTOMS OF AN ESTROGEN DOMINANCE Darrell Miller 7/25/05
The Management of PMS and Ginkgo Darrell Miller 6/25/05
The Science of Healthy Hair Darrell Miller 6/10/05




Potassium and Pregnancy: Everything You Need to Know
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Date: May 02, 2019 12:01 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Potassium and Pregnancy: Everything You Need to Know





Potassium is vital to the most basic functions of your body, including muscle function and your cells’ ability to take in and release fluids and nutrients. During pregnancy, it becomes even more important by helping to reduce fluid retention and fight unpleasant symptoms like restless legs and cramped, uncomfortable muscles. A potassium deficiency, also known as hypokalemia, is usually the result of a rapid, major loss of fluids, and can product symptoms such as soreness, cramps, stiffness and spasms in the muscles, breathing and digestive problems and more.

Key Takeaways:

  • The vital nutrient, potassium regulates fluid and other minerals in the human body's cells.
  • Potassium also aids in the regulation of blood pressure, the contractors of muscles and the transmission of electric nerve impulses.
  • A severe lack of the mineral can lead to exhaustion, vomiting, nausea and constipation.

"Potassium helps reduce fluid retention, combats electrolyte imbalance, and eases restless leg syndrome and cramps, all of which are major causes of discomfort during pregnancy."

Read more: https://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/potassium-and-pregnancy-everything-you-need-to-know/

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Why you need sodium, and how much is necessary?
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Date: September 05, 2018 08:52 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Why you need sodium, and how much is necessary?





Why you need sodium, and how much is necessary – too much or too little causes health issues

Even though sodium is required for basic survival, over half of Americans consume too much of it, largely because it is so heavily used in processed foods. Too much sodium can cause a number of symptoms, including swelling from water retention, excessive thirst, brain fog, and hypertension. On the other hand, too little sodium (hyponatremia) is also dangerous to your health, especially To cardiac function. To keep your sodium within healthy limits, it’s important to really know what’s in your food, and avoid processed foods as much as possible.

Key Takeaways:

  • The FDA recommends that you consume about a teaspoon of salt every day.
  • Most of the salt we consume comes via processed foods, not from the salt shaker on our tables.
  • If you want to consume less sodium, learn to read labels and be especially careful when ordering food at restaurants.

"It is no secret that most of us consume way more sodium than our bodies need."

Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2018-08-13-why-you-need-sodium-and-how-much-is-necessary-too-much-or-too-little-causes-health-issues.html

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19 Natural Diuretics to Help Relieve Water Retention, Bloating &More
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Date: September 04, 2018 09:53 AM
Author: VitaNet, LLC Staff (support@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: 19 Natural Diuretics to Help Relieve Water Retention, Bloating &More





19 Natural Diuretics to Help Relieve Water Retention, Bloating & More

When someone is suffering from liver disease or other ailments such as diabetes, they are often prescribed diuertics in order to help the flow of liquids throughout their system. Unfortunately, these pharaceutical interventions can often come with a plethora of unwanted side effects such as dizziness and headaches. There is, however, a much less invasive solution. Many foods and herbs act as natural diuretics such as juniper berries and dandelion. Their consumption ends up leading to much less unwanted side effects while delivering the same potent results.

Key Takeaways:

  • Diuretics are often used by patients who are facing liver disease, or for those suffering from diabetic symptoms.
  • Although diuretics are quite successful in the benefits that they promote, they also can come with unwanted side effects such as dizziness.
  • Natural diuretics such as juniper berry and hibiscus can give you the same flushing benefits without the adverse side effects.

"Whether you’re looking to flush out water weight or keep kidney stones at bay, including a few servings of natural diuretics in your diet may be just what you need."

Read more: https://draxe.com/natural-diuretics/

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Health Benefits of Aconitum Napellus.
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Date: June 28, 2014 05:41 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Health Benefits of Aconitum Napellus.

Aconitum Napellus

Apart from being a beautiful herb, Aconitum Nappellus has been used for centuries in treating a variety of ailments. The herb is mainly found in the United Kingdom, northeastern United States and Eastern Europe. Its common name is monkshood or wolfs bane.

Benefits of aconitum napellus


In ancient Europe, it was used to treat many ailments including flu, fevers, colds and nervous disorders. It was also used to relieve pain, and roots were used as anesthesia. In the modern world.

Aconitum is used to treat different ailments such as

Stomach


Aconitum is used to treat constipation, vomiting and other stomach upsets. If you suffer stomach upsets, leaves and roots from Aconitum have been found to remedy stomach upsets.

Headache

Aconitum pills available in the market have been found to be very effective in treating headache including migraine headache. People who suffer frequent headache have found Aconitum pills to be very beneficial in alleviating headaches.

Treat fear and shock

When properly prepared, aconitum pills will alleviate fear, shock and anxiety. It has significant sedative, ant-neuralgic, analgesic properties and has been proved to alleviate panic attacks and shock.

Antibacterial properties.


Aconitum has been found to have antibacterial properties. When frequently used, it will strength your immune system and protects your body against bacterial infections. However, it is always good to use together with other antibacterial drugs.

Eye ailments

It is also useful in the treatment of eye ailments. For example, if you suffer swollen, red and hard lids, or your eyes feel dry and hot, aconitum can treat such conditions.

Throat ailments


Is used to treat Red, dry, numb, prickling, constricted, burning, stinging throat as well as swollen and dry tonsils.

If you suffer difficulties in urinating, tenesmus and urine retention, aconitum will remedy these conditions.

Aconitum Napellus is poisonous. Symptoms of Aconite poisoning include vomiting crawling skin, and coldness.

Sources

  1. //www.ehow.com/about_5042870_aconitum-napellus-used.html
  2. //www.webhomeopath.com/homeopathy/homeopathic-remedies/homeopathy-remedy-Aconitum_napellus.html

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Progesterone cream can Help Wtih PMS And Menopause
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Date: March 13, 2014 04:35 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Progesterone cream can Help Wtih PMS And Menopause

PMS on women

Imbalance of hormone is one of the most common problems among many women. These problems can include, increasing of weight, headache, sickness, emotional imbalance and so many other health issues. Because of this hormonal imbalance many of these women go to various health centers for this. However, if they have the problems of menopause or PMS issue due to hormonal imbalance, then progesterone cream can also help women’s greatly in these kind of situations.

What is progesterone

Since, progesterone hormone is also known as the regulator of all the hormones, so progesterone cream can help in regulation of all hormones in body. This hormone not only balances the estrogen in a woman’s body, but it also regulates other hormones as well that are essential for proper functioning of the body. These addition hormones include thyroid and estrogen that help you regulate various function of your body along with your mood swing, headache, breast soreness, water retention, weight gain and much more.

Other than this, progesterone cream can also help you in regulation of your PMS and menopause in a best possible manner. Also, if you have any kind of hot flashes or vaginal dryness, then also you can get a lot of help with this cream because a part of cream can transform into estrogen and these problems occur due to lack of estrogen only. So if you will use this cream, then you can also get a great help in this particular problems.

So, if you have any kind of problem due to your hormonal imbalance or you are getting issues of PMS or menopause problems, then you can use progesterone cream and you can get great help in your health. So, if you have this issue you can simply use this cream and you can get a lot of health benefit with it.

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=3061)


The role played by iodine in weight management
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Date: December 23, 2013 02:56 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: The role played by iodine in weight management

saltWhat is Iodine

Iodine is a mineral that is found in trace amounts in the body. Its effects in weight loss are, however, significant because it supports the thyroid gland’s function in accelerating metabolism. The following is a look at how iodine is important for weight management.

Studies on Iodine

Studies have conclusively proven that insufficient intake of iodine in the body has resulted to the enlargement of the thyroid gland or a drop in its functional capabilities. These result to weight gain even where there is a reduction in the consumption of calories.

A properly functioning thyroid gland is essential because it eliminates chances of body fat accumulation and water retention, which contribute to weight gain. An underactive thyroid, also known as hypothyroidism can, however, be corrected by daily intake of iodine by eating foods rich in the mineral or supplementation.

Natural sources of iodine

Include tea, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, onions, iodized salt, peanuts, mustard, pine nuts, bladderwrack, kelp and various sea vegetables. Adults are required to consume at least 150 micrograms of iodine on a daily basis to ensure that their thyroid glands functioning optimally.

How Iodine Works

Iodine works by increasing the production of T4, which is a hormone that adjusts the body’s rate of burning fat and metabolism. It also increases mental and physical activities, which play an important role in weight loss.

Precaution

It is important to exercise care when increasing the intake of iodine because too much of it is also detrimental. Consulting a physician is advisable to ensure that the mineral is increased in moderation to ensure safety.

In conclusion

The amount of iodine in ones diet has a significant effect on weight loss. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that the recommended daily amount of the mineral is consumed to ensure that the body is functioning optimally. Signs of iodine deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, impotence, low sex drive, irritability and problems in ones complexion, hair, teeth, and nails.

References:

  1. //www.naturalnews.com/008902.html
  2. //diet.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Iodine_Weight_Loss
  3. //www.askdrgarland.com/?p=1226
  4. //www.livestrong.com/article/292129-iodine-drops-for-weight-loss/
  5. //www.ask.com/question/do-iodine-supplements-help-you-lose-weight
  6. //www.trimnutrition.com/blog/the-nutritional-importance-of-iodine
  7. //theweightlossinstitute.com/mgold/iodine.php
  8. //voices.yahoo.com/iodine-weight-loss-5579691.html
  9. //www.3fatchicks.com

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Can Guarana Boost Energy?
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Date: January 24, 2013 01:29 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Can Guarana Boost Energy?

14196Guarana, scientifically named as Paullinia cupana is an evergreen vine indigenous to the northern regions of Brazil and Venezuela. Guarana berries are widely considered to be a great source of organic caffeine and also have been used for hundreds of years by native Amazonian tribes, the Guaranis to help retain their stamina levels and improve physical endurance. The natives believed that the drink made from this powdered ground seeds of the berries could provide more energy. They also claimed that, by drinking Guarana juice one could go on hunt for many days without food and also without feeling fatigue.

Energy Booster

Guarana is used as an organic and effective energy booster. It has an identical chemical composition to that of caffeine, and also the plant seeds produce even greater caffeine effects than usual caffeine drinks. Guarana is released into the body much more slowly to provide longer stimulation. The plant immediately energizes the nervous system to provide sustained energy and may be taken in small dose to fight weakness and improve activity levels. Additionally, it decreases tiredness, and improves mental alertness. Also, Guarana extract is taken by sports athletes to keep up their peak performance.

Weight Loss

Guarana is traditionally used for weight Loss as well. It helps reduce fluid retention, inhibits appetite and boosts metabolic process. As a result, the extra fat stored becomes a source of fuel to the body.

Digestive properties

Guarana also consists of tannins, which is valuable in treating diarrhea and other types of digestive problems.

Aphrodisiac

Because of higher content of caffeine, Guarana has received a reputation of a powerful stimulant and also aphrodisiac. When compared to other libido supplements, Guarana doesn't have any side effects.

Pain relief

As an all-natural adaptogen, Guarana can be used to boost the body's effectiveness against anxiety, stress and fatigue. It's traditionally been useful for migraines, menstruation pains as well as heart related illnesses.

(https://vitanetonline.com:443/forums/Index.cfm?CFApp=1&Message_ID=2817)


Can Butcher's Broom Help Fight Varicose Veins?
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Date: January 11, 2013 12:36 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Can Butcher's Broom Help Fight Varicose Veins?

Varicose Veins are abnormally thick veins that are twisted and enlarged. This problem occurs mostly in the leg and thigh veins. The thickened and twisted veins are called varicose veins. They can occur anywhere, but they mostly form in the legs because the legs work against gravity. Standing all day can increase the pressure on leg veins and cause varicose veins.

Causes

The normal function of veins is to carry blood from the outer body parts to the heart and lungs. The veins are provided with one-way valves, which prevent the blood from flowing backward within the vein. Defective or damaged valves are the main reason for varicose veins, as they allow the blood to flow backward, when it should be actually flowing up towards the heart. As the muscles contract to empty the veins, pressure builds up and this causes in the flow of more blood in the wrong way. Thus the pressure on the veins is increased and this causes varicose veins.

Factors that Aggravate Varicose Veins

  • * Pregnancy: During pregnancy, the blood volume increases and the growing uterus adds to the vein pressure in the legs, moreover, estrogen and progesterone relax the vein walls. All this lead to varicose vein formation during pregnancy
  • * Standing for long
  • * Obesity
  • * Straining: Any bodily condition, such as chronic cough, chronic constipation or urinary retention, which may cause strain can increase the chances for varicose veins.
  • * Age: Mostly elderly people are more prone to varicose vein occurrence.
  • * Surgery or trauma: Surgery can sometimes interrupt in the normal flow of blood.

Treatment

There are different types of treatments available to shrink varicose veins and to improve circulation, from simple home remedies to surgeries or medications for severe cases. Natural supplements like Butcher's broom are considered to be a very effective treatment for varicosities.

Butcher's Broom

Butcher's broom is a small, clump-forming evergreen shrub with tiny green flowers. It is an aromatic, diuretic and mildly laxative herb that helps reduce inflammation, increase perspiration and constrict the veins. The whole plant, young shoots and roots are used medically. Young shoots can be eaten like asparagus. It grows commonly in woodlands and hedgerows, and also on coastal cliffs. It is widely grown from Iran to the Mediterranean and the United States.

Its scientific name is Ruscus aculeatus, but it is commonly known as butcher's broom because butcher's used the stiff twigs to clean their cutting boards. The herb has been used for nearly 2000 years, but its medicinal uses have become common only from the last century. Investigations conducted in the 1950s indicated that butcher's broom can induce vasoconstriction and thus might be useful in treating circulatory diseases.

How It Works?

The two primary chemicals in butcher's broom, ruscogenin and neoruscogenin, can cause the blood vessels to narrow or constrict. Their anti-inflammatory properties help improve blood circulation in legs by preventing pooling of blood and reduce swelling.

  • * The flavonoids and ruscogenins in butcher's broom cause the vessels to constrict, reduce blood collection and protect the capillaries. It strengthens blood vessels and improves circulatory health.
  • * Butcher's broom helps the blood vessels to release the accumulated blood, and thus reduces the size of the veins.

Therapeutic Uses

Butcher's broom is used internally to treat venous problems that vary from varicose veins to hemorrhoids. It is also used to strengthen the veins and capillaries. Butcher's broom may be the best natural solution for varicose vein treatment, because it helps with blood flow and circulation.

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Triphala - Boost digestion, Improve Liver Function, Blood Sugar, Cholesterol And More
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Date: May 27, 2011 11:42 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Triphala - Boost digestion, Improve Liver Function, Blood Sugar, Cholesterol And More

What is the Ayurvedic Herb Triphala and What Does it Do for the Body?

Triphala, or “three fruits”, is an herbal preparation that originated from India. As its name suggests, it is made up of fruits extracts from three different plant species, namely: amla, beliric, and haritaki. These plants are native to India, but enjoy a significant presence throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of Asia. Their historical uses are largely medicinal, with the exception of amla.

Allays Digestive Problems

The organic compounds that occur naturally in triphala have several properties that aid digestion and prevent gas. Triphala is often taken before meals as an appetizer because it increases digestive activities necessary for the perception of hunger. It is also widely used as a treatment for constipation for two reasons: it works as a mild laxative that induces the fast passage of foods and stimulates peristaltic movements in the colon.

Improves Liver Function

Triphala is especially good for the liver. For one, its addition to the diet speeds up the breakdown of bioactive compounds in the gastrointestinal tract. Regular intake of triphala has been observed to improve several liver functions, most notably the conversion of cholesterol to bile salts, which is crucial for the processing of lipids in the diet. More importantly, it raises the capacity of the liver to deal with harmful metabolites of foreign materials, such as drugs.

Regulates Blood Sugar

Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine recommend larger consumptions of triphala to individuals suffering from glucose intolerance, diabetes mellitus, and metabolic syndrome. The fruits that constitute triphala are known for their ability to interfere with the releases of simple sugars, such as glucose, into the systemic circulation. They work on the principle of sustaining a gradual but steady distribution of glucose to individual cells for several hours.

Lowers Bad Cholesterol

It is common belief in parts of Asia that triphala is good for the circulatory system. Apart from its putative role in the regulation of blood sugar, it also impacts overall lipid levels in the blood. The phytochemical content of triphala enables it to have an effect on the productions of very-low-density lipoproteins, precursors of low-density lipoproteins, or bad cholesterol. This results in fewer free fatty acids that often get trapped in arterial walls.

Promotes Healthy Metabolism

Athletes are likely to benefit from triphala, for it influences the conversion of bioactive compounds to energy for use by cells. Triphala appears to increase metabolic rate and facilitate better utilization of glucose and fats, the reason why it is now commercially touted as an herbal supplement that aids weight loss. Also, triphala has been observed to regulate water retention, which has been linked to obesity.

Protects Eye Tissue

Triphala contains a host of antioxidants that protect eye tissues. The eyes are susceptible to oxidative stress brought on by free radicals and other reactive oxygen species. Oxidative stress interrupts functions of ocular cells and damages cellular organelles, leading to many known diseases of the eye. Triphala has been associated with the prevention and amelioration of conjunctivitis, cataracts, glaucoma, and myopia.

Triphala being a fiber has a wide range of health benefits, give triphala a try today and feel the difference!

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Looking for weight management Results. Frustrated with yo-yo dieting.
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Date: May 06, 2011 01:34 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Looking for weight management Results. Frustrated with yo-yo dieting.

1. Decrease caloric consumption 2. Increase exercise 3. Take inflama-Trim

Frustrated with yo-yo dieting

SOURCE NATURALS - Inflama Trim 90 TabletsYou may not know that inflammation is a factor in weight retention. Inflama-trim is a completely new approach to healthy weight management. It uses a powerful array of nutrients to break the cycle of metabolic inflammation, a biochemical process that may influence inappropriate storage of glucose and fats. Other products deal with thermogenesis and increasing metabolism. Inflama-Trim goes beyond thermogenesis and metabolism to take on inflammation as a significant factor in healthy weight management.

Inflammation – Inflama-trim addresses metabolic inflammation by inhibiting inflammatory chemical messengers. Help “cool down” metabolic inflammation, which can alter body chemistry and is a factor in weight retention.

Metabolism – Revving up metabolism with carefully formulated ingredients can help support cellular metabolism and thermogenesis. Light the fire and “heat up” your body’s ability to burn calories and stored fat.

Stress support – Stress does more than wear you out. Cortisol, a hormone that increases in the body in response to stress, helps regulate metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Nutrients and herbs in Inflama-Trim help support relaxation and help balance the body’s stress response.

Energy – Increased metabolism combined with feeling calmer and more balanced can result in higher energy levels without the jitters that come with just taking pure stimulants.

**Because inflama-trim addresses the fundamental, biochemical sources of weight retention, when combined with the maximum metabolism diet and exercise plan included in every bottle, it is an effective tool to achieve results. Change your chemistry and change your life with inflama-trim!

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Horse Radish
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Date: October 28, 2009 11:39 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Horse Radish

Horse RadishThe horseradish plant is a perennial plant that is part of the Brassicaceae family, which includes mustard, wasabi, broccoli, and cabbages. Native to southeastern Europe and western Asia, the plant is popular around the world today. The horseradish plant grows up to five feet tall and is mainly cultivated for its large, white, tapered root. The intact horseradish root has hardly any aroma. However, when cut or grated, enzymes from the damaged plant cells break down to produce allylisothiocyanate, which often irritates the sinuses and eyes. Once grated, if the plant is not mixed with vinegar or used immediately, the root darkens and loses its pungency. It quickly becomes unpleasantly bitter when exposed to air and heat.

Horseradish has been cultivated since ancient times. The Delphic Oracle in Greek mythology told Apollo that horse radish was worth its weight in gold. Horseradish was known in Egypt by 1500 BC and has been used by Jews from Eastern Europe traditionally in Passover. The plant is discussed by Cato in his treatises on agriculture. It is thought that horseradish is the plant known as Wild Radish by the Greeks. Both the root and leaves of the horseradish plant were used as a medicine during the Middle Ages, with the root used as a condiment on meats in Germany, Scandinavia, and Britain. This herb was taken to North American during Colonial times. It is not certain as to where the name horseradish come from. Some believe that it derives by misinterpretation of the German Merettich as mare radish. Others think the name comes from the coarseness of the root. The common thought in Europe is that it refers to the old method of processing the root called hoofing, in which horses were used to stamp the root tender before grating it.

For at least two thousand years, horseradish has been cultivated. It was brought to America by early settlers and used to treat conditions such as pain from sciatic, colic, and intestinal worms. Horseradish provides antibiotic action that is recommended for respiratory and urinary infections. The volatile oil in horseradish has the ability to work as a nasal and bronchial dilator. Internally, it has been used to clear nasal passages, alleviate sinus problems, help with digestion, work as a diuretic, aid with edema and rheumatism, and cleanse various body systems. Also, horseradish has been used to stimulate digestion, metabolism, and kidney function. Horse Radish This herb helps promote stomach secretions to aid in digestion. Horseradish can be used as a compress for neuralgia, stiffness, and pain in the back of the neck. Additionally, this herb can be used as a parasiticide.

The root of the horseradish plant can be used to provide antibiotic, antineoplastic, antiseptic, bitter, caminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, hepatic, parasiticide, mild purgative, rubefacient, sialagogue, stimulant, and stomachic properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, and vitamins A, B-complex, and P. Primarily, horseradish is extremely beneficial in dealing with loss of appetite, circulation, coughs, edema, excessive mucus, sinus problems, internal and skin tumors, and worms.

Additionally, this herb is very helpful in treating arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, congestion, gout, jaundice, kidney problems, irritated membranes, neuralgia, palsy, rheumatism, skin conditions, water retention, and wounds. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by horseradish, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store with questions.

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Hops And Good health
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Date: September 20, 2009 08:47 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Hops And Good health

Hops are the female flower cones, which are also known as strobiles, of the hop plant. The hop plant is part of the Cannabaceae family, which also includes hemp. Primarily, hops are used as a flavoring and stability agent in beer. The first documented use in beer is from the eleventh century. Today, hops are used extensively in brewing because of their many benefits. Among these are balancing the sweetness of the hops with bitterness. However, hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine.

Nicholas Culpeper, a seventeenth-century herbalist, suggested the use of hops to open obstructions of the liver and spleen, cleanse the blood, loosen the belly, cleanse the veins, and promote urination. Hops were used as food by the Romans. Gerard, a famous herbalist, recommended using the buds in salads. Native American tribes also found hops to be of value. The Mohicans used it as a sedative and also for toothaches, while the Menominee tribes used hops as a cure-all. The lupulin that is found in hops is described as both a sedative and hypnotic drug. It was recognized in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from 1831 to 1916. Most often, hops are probably used in the production of beer.

Hops are best known for their sedative action. Also, they are used for their antibiotic properties. These properties are beneficial for sore throats, bronchitis, infections, high fevers, delirium, toothaches, earaches, and pain. Although hops are strong, they seem to be safe to use. Their main uses are to alleviate nervous tension and promote a restful sleep. They have been used to naturally relieve insomnia. For inflammation, boils, tumors, and swelling, a poultice of hops is recommended. Hops have been used as a stimulant to the glands and muscles of the stomach. They have also been used as a relaxant on the gastric nerves. Hops have a relaxing influence on the liver and gall duct and a laxative effect on the bowels. Many studies indicate that hops have sedative properties. This herb is known to be fast-acting, soothing, and calming to the nervous system. Hops are often nervine herbs that aid in promoting sleep. Certain elements of the plant have been shown to possess hypnotic effects. Hops are also used for their antispasmodic effects. Additionally, hops contain antibacterial properties, which validates some of their historical uses.

The flower of the hops plant is used to provide alterative, anodyne, antibacterial, antibiotic, antineoplastic, carminative, cholagogue, galactagogue, nervine, sedative, stomachic, and vulnerary properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are chlorine, copper, fluorine, iodine, iron, lead, magnesium, manganese, sodium, vitamin B-complex, and zinc. Primarily, this herb is extremely beneficial in treating appetite loss, bronchitis, delirium, gastric disorders, headaches, hyperactivity, and indigestion, insomnia, absent lactation, nervousness, pain, and excessive sexual desire.

Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with alcoholism, anxiety, blood impurities, coughs, intestinal cramps, dizziness, earaches, fevers, gas, jaundice, kidney stones, liver disorders, menstrual symptoms, menopausal symptoms, neuralgia, restlessness, rheumatism, skin disorders, sleeplessness, toothache, ulcers, venereal diseases, water retention, whooping cough, and worms. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by hops, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store with questions.

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Saffron
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Date: July 28, 2009 11:32 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Saffron

Saffron was used by the Greeks and Chinese as a royal dye because of its yellow color. Wealthy Romans used this herb to perfume their homes. In Europe, it was used medicinally between the fourth and eighteenth centuries. It was also being used in the kitchen to cook with.

In the book The Complete Herbal, Nicholas Culpeper recommended using saffron for the heart, brain, and lungs. The herb was also suggested for acute diseases like smallpox and measles. It was also recommended for hysteric depression. Dr. David Culbreth characterized the herb as a pain reliever and was said to promote perspiration and gas explosion and ease painful menstruation in the book Materia Medica and Pharmacology. Saffron was also said to relieve eye infections and encourage sore eruptions.

This herb is soothing to both the stomach and colon. It is responsible for acting as a blood purifier. Saffron helps stimulate circulation and regulate the spleen, heart, and liver. It is also helpful in reducing inflammation; treating arthritis, gout, bursitis, kidney stones, hypoglycemia, and chest congestion; improving circulation; and promoting energy. Small doses should be taken internally for coughs, gas, and colic and to stimulate appetite. The herb can also be applied externally in a salve for gout.

It has been shown that saffron may even help to reduce cholesterol levels. It neutralizes uric acid buildup in the system. Recent research determined that rabbits, which were fed crocetin, which is a component of saffron, had a significant reduction in cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Saffron is eaten daily in Valencia and Spain, resulting in little heart disease occurring among inhabitants. The evidence has shown that saffron increases oxygen diffusion from the red blood cells. Not only does it discourage uric acid buildup, it also inhibits the accumulation of lactic acid. Therefore, it may help prevent heart disease.

Other research done on saffron suggests that the crocetin ingredient may have the potential to act as an anticancer agent in studies done both in vitro and in animals. On study that was done using saffron extract in vitro found that tumor colony cell growth was limited by inhibiting the cellular nucleic acid synthesis. Additional research on cancer has found that saffron that was given orally helped in increasing the life span of mice with variety of laboratory-induced cancers.

The flowers of the saffron plant are used to provide alterative, anodyne, antineoplastic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, blood purifier, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative, and stimulant. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, lactic acid, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, and vitamins A and B12. Primarily, saffron is extremely beneficial in treating fevers, gout, indigestion, liver disorders, measles, excessive perspiration, phlegm, psoriasis, rheumatism, scarlet fever, and stomach acid. Additionally, this herb is very helpful in dealing with appetite loss, arthritis, blood impurities, bronchitis, cancer, colds, conjunctivitis, coughs, fatigue, gas, headaches, heartburn, uterine hemorrhages, hyperglycemia, hypoglycemia, insomnia, jaundice, kidney stones, menstrual symptoms, skin disease, tuberculosis, ulcers, water retention, and whooping cough.

In order to obtain the best results when supplementing with this, or any herb, it is important to consult your health care provider before beginning any regimen. For more information on the many beneficial effects provided by saffron, please feel free to consult a representative from your local health food store with questions. Saffron is available at your local or internet health food store. Note: Saffron should not be consumed internally.

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ChickWeed
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Date: June 16, 2009 09:46 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: ChickWeed

Chickweeds are an annual herb that can be found growing in temperate zones, artic zones, and throughout. The most likely origin of this plant, although not known for sure, is Eurasia. Chickweeds have established themselves all over the world, as they may have been carried by clothes and shoes of explorers. Chickweed plants are as numerous in species as they are in region. Most species are succulent with white flowers. All of the species have practically the same edible and medicinal values.

This plant exhibits an interesting trait, as it folds its leaves over its buds and the new shoots every night. This event is known as the sleeping of the plant. Cultivating this plant is not exactly necessary, as it is abundant and easy to find. The plant can be gathered fresh and edible between May and July, as soon as the flowers appear. Not only can the plant be used fresh, it can also be dried for later herb use.

Chickweed can be found growing abundantly in areas of Europe and North America. The Ojibwe and Iroquois Native American tribes used chickweed as eyewash. They also used it in poultice form to heal wounds. It has recently been studied for its abilities in helping to prevent cancer.

Chickweed is extremely valuable in treating blood toxicity, fevers, and inflammation. Its mucilage elements are known to help with stomach ulcers and also inflamed bowels. Chickweed is great for helping to dissolve plaque in blood vessels as well as other fatty substances that can be found in the body. Chickweed acts as an antibiotic in the blood, as it may be recommended as an anticancer treatment. Some people have used chickweed to treat tumors.

Chickweed can be used as a poultice for boils, burns, skin diseases, sore eyes, and swollen testes. Chickweed is also recommended to aid in weight loss and to break down cellulite. This herb is mild and has been sued as a food as well as a medicine.

Chickweeds are very nutritious and high in vitamins and minerals. They can be added to salads or cooked as a pot herb. The plant tastes somewhat like spinach. The whole plant can be taken internally as a postpartum depurative, emmenagogue, glactogogue, and cirucaltory tonic. A decoction can also be used externally to treat rheumatic pains, wounds, and ulcers. Chickweed can be applied as a medicinal poultice to relieve any kind of roseola. It is effective wherever there are fragile superficial veins or itching skin conditions.

The entire chickweed herb is used to provide alterative, anorectic, antineoplastic, blood purifier, demulcent, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, febrifuge, mucilant, nutritive, pectoral, and stomachic properties. The primary nutrients found in this herb are calcium, copper, iron, manganese, phosphorus, sodium, vitamins C, D, and B-complex, and zinc. Primarily, this herb is extremely beneficial in dealing with excessive appetite, bleeding, blood impurities, convulsions, obesity, skin rashes, and ulcers. Additionally, chickweed can be extremely helpful in treating arteriosclerosis, asthma, bronchitis, bruises, bursitis, colitis, constipation, cramps, eye infections, gas, hemorrhoids, lung congestion, excessive mucus, pleurisy, blood poising, swollen testicles, inflamed tissue, water retention, and wounds. For more information the many beneficial affects of chickweed, please feel free to contact a representative from your local health food store with questions.

Chickweed is available in capsule and tablet forms at your local or internet health food store. Look for name brands like Solaray, Natures Answer, and Natures Herbs to ensure quality and purity of the products you purchase.

*Statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Chickweed is not intended to diagnose, treat and cure or prevent disease. Always consult with your professional health care provider before changing any medication or adding Vitamins to medications.

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alfalfa
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Date: April 08, 2009 04:40 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: alfalfa

Alfalfa was considered to be a miracle herb in ancient times, as the Arabs called it the “Father of Herbs.” This herb has been cultivated for more than two thousand years. When the Medes and the Persians invaded Greece in 400 B.C., they began cultivating alfalfa in that region. This was primarily because of its ability to survive even the roughest of climates. The roots of the alfalfa plant can extend as long as sixty-six feet into the subsoil. The Romans later discovered that alfalfa was excellent for their horses. North America was introduced to alfalfa thanks to the Spanish. Here in North America, the herb was used to treat arthritis, boils, cancer, scurvy, urinary tract disorders, and bowel problems.

The health benefits of alfalfa have been document thanks to modern research. This herb has been shown to be one of the most nutritious foods available. Herbalists consider this herb to be beneficial for many problems, with some even recommending it for any sickness due to the way it helps the body absorb protein, calcium, and other essential nutrients. Additionally, alfalfa is helpful in removing poisons and their effects from the body. It is also thought to neutralize the acidity of the body and help to break down carbon dioxide. Alfalfa is actually used to treat recovery cases of narcotic and alcohol addiction. It has also been found to help in cases of anemia by building blood.

Alfalfa is great because it contains both antibacterial and antifungal properties. This makes the herb a great body cleanser, infection fighter, and natural deodorizer. Alfalfa has also been used to clean teeth that are stained. Specifically, the extracts of alfalfa produce antibacterial activity against gram-positive bacteria.

Alfalfa is great for helping with milk production in nursing mothers. This herb can also stimulate appetite. This herb has also been researched and found to help lower cholesterol levels. Additionally, research has found that alfalfa can neutralize cancer. Alfalfa has been found to help in healing ulcers and treating arteriosclerosis, allergies, diabetes, and in strengthening the capillaries and blood vessels. Often, alfalfa is used to treat appendicitis, water retention, urinary and bowel problems, muscle spasms, cramps, and digestive problems.

The leaves and flowers of this herb are used in order to provide healing effects. The properties of alfalfa include: alterative, antibacterial, antifungal, antirheumatic, bitter, blood purifier, deodorant, diuretic, and nutritive. The primary nutrients that are provided by alfalfa include essential amino acids, chlorine, chlorophyll, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, silicon, sodium, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B12, E, E, and K.

Alfalfa is primarily used to help with cases of anemia, arthritis, diabetes, contaminated kidneys, and pituitary problems, loss of appetite, blood impurities, hemorrhages, nausea, and peptic ulcers. Additionally, alfalfa can be beneficial when dealing with alcoholism, chronic appendicitis, allergies, high blood pressure, body odor, bursitis, cancer, high cholesterol, muscle and stomach cramps, gastric disorders, gout, intestinal problems, jaundice, absence of lactation, weak muscles, nosebleeds, stained teeth, and urinary problems. For more information on the healing effects of alfalfa, please contact your local health food store.



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Bromelain Enzymes
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Date: May 01, 2008 02:45 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Bromelain Enzymes

Bromelain consists of two enzymes that digest proteins, otherwise known as proteases or proteolytic enzymes. These enzymes are obtained from different parts of the plant, one from the stem and the other from the fruit. It also includes protease inhibitors, acid phosphatase, peroxidase and calcium.

First used as a supplement in 1959, bromelain is particularly popular in Germany, where a lot of the recent research has been carried out. Because the stem enzyme is in the greatest amount, eating pineapple will not give a great deal of bromelain, and you will have to take the supplement which is extracted from the stem in order to get the greatest benefits.

Bromelain has several therapeutic effects on the body, and is a good aid to digestion. The enzyme can boost the digestive processes and so reduce the incidence of problems such as heartburn, acid reflux and any other condition caused by the incomplete digestion of foods. It does this by breaking down proteins so they are more easily digested.

In fact its potency is sometimes measured in GDUs (Gelatin Digesting Units), gelatin being a common protein that is easily used for the measurement of bromelain activity. It is also measured in MCU (Milk Clotting Units), since bromelain can also be used to clot milk, and a standardized dose should contain 2 MCU per milligram. The dosage to use depends a great deal on the condition being treated, but a good general average for digestive problems is 500 mg three times daily.

Bromelain works best at an optimum pH of 4.5 – 5.5 and can therefore help to balance the pH in its environment. It is extremely important to the immune system that the pH of the body is balanced and controlled to within certain limits, and bromelain can help to achieve that. In helping to reduce the excessive acidity caused by poor digestion, a balanced pH of the stomach is also maintained, helping to reduce the feeling of nausea, common with some digestive defects. The overall result of bromelain supplement is to help to maintain a better digestive system and ease the discomfort of many people for whom a meal is frequently not the pleasure it should be.

Bromelain is also an anti-inflammatory, and used for temporary relief of the inflammation caused by surgical procedures, arthritis and various injuries and forms of disease It is commonly used for the treatment of sports injuries and also immediately after surgery to reduce the risk of inflammation. It appears to have an inhibiting effect of the production of pro-inflammatory metabolites in the body, although the mechanism by which it works is not yet fully understood.

In fact many of the therapeutic benefits of bromelain have been show to be only partially due to its proteolytic activity, and it is now believed that there are also as yet unidentified non-protein factors present in bromelain that contribute to these forms of health benefit. The biochemistry of bromelain has yet to be fully characterized.

Notwithstanding that, the substance has been recommended for the treatment of a wide range of connected conditions, such as gout, arthritis, hemorrhoids, ulcerative colitis, autoimmune disorders, hay fever and sinusitis. It is particularly useful where there is pain, where tissues have become swollen and when tissue repair is needed. It appears to inhibit pain-inducing prostaglandins and is also believed in some way to induce the biochemical production of other prostaglandins that have an anti-inflammatory effect.

All of this knowledge has come as a result of studies carried out on the biochemical activity of bromelain, but have not yet been proved and is indicative of the lack of biochemical knowledge on this substance and the chemicals it contains. What have been demonstrated, however, are its effects on platelets and blood clots in arteries.

It appears to do this by the inhibition of the formation of high levels of fibrinogen from which clots are made, and also inhibits the aggregation of blood platelets and their ability to stick to the endothelial cells of blood vessels, particularly the arteries. The fibrin that is produced from fibrinogen not only promotes blood clotting but is also associated wit the retention of fluid. It is a protein, and the proteolytic effect of bromelain also breaks this down.

Bromelain therefore works in a number ways to reduce fluid retention, prevent blood clotting and inhibit the aggregation of blood platelets on artery walls. The measurable effect of this is the thinning of the blood that such activity promotes. It is logical that if fibrin contributes to the viscosity of blood, then its destruction will result in thinner blood, and hence lower blood pressure.

It is also used in the treatment of burns, where it helps to remove the dead skin that can delay recovery after third degree burns. It also appears to promote the absorption of many antibiotics, which again helps in recovery.

Bromelain is relatively safe to use with few side effects, although, curiously, among the side effects are some conditions it is also used to treat. Among these are nausea and allergic reactions, along with diarrhea and excessive menstrual flow. One of its successes has been in the control of menstrual pain.

Bromelain has been proposed for cancer therapy, its potential use being recommended due to its effect of the adhesion of cells, its regulation of the immune function and its effect on the immunosuppressive cytokine TGF-beta that is involved in several types of cancer and their metastasis (spread to other parts of the body). However, a lot more work is needed on this for definite conclusions to be drawn.

On a more practical note, the effect of bromelain on proteins is put to use as a steak tenderizer. If the product is sprinkled in powdered form onto meat, and then forked into the tissue, the enzymes will break down the protein of the meat and make it tender when cooked. However, don’t overdo it or you will end up eating a meaty mush more akin to a soft meatloaf than a good steak!

All in all, bromelain is a useful supplement for many medical conditions, and does to food in your stomach what it does to steak on the plate. It is generally used in supplement form because the active enzyme is not in a high enough concentration in the fruit itself, but in the stem from which it is extracted after the fruit has been harvested. It is also easier to standardize a supplement than a fruit.

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Fat Controls our hunger centers in the brain!
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Date: April 04, 2008 11:28 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Fat Controls our hunger centers in the brain!

The main cause of any chronic disease of aging including Type II diabetes, CV disease, obesity, osteoporosis, and cancer are all caused by miss communication between signals that tell your body how to turn energy into life and the brain. The two most important signals that we know of today are given by the hormones insulin and leptin.

Leptin is an extremely powerful and influential hormone that is produced by fat cells. It has totally changed the way scientific researchers look at fat, nutrition, and metabolism in general. Before leptin’s discovery in 1994, fat was regarded as strictly an ugly energy store that most everyone was trying to get rid of. However, after it was discovered that leptin is actually produced by fat, fat became an endocrine organ similar to the ovaries, pancreas, and pituitary, as it influences the rest of the body, especially the brain.

Leptin is the most powerful regulator known to date of eating and reproduction. Your fat tells your brain whether you should be hungry or eat and make more fat, whether you should reproduce and make babies, or whether to maintain and repair yourself. It can then be stated that instead of your brain being in control of your body, your body, especially its fat and leptin, controls your brain.

Throughout history, it has been in ones best interest to store some fat to call upon during times of famine. However, it is also just as bad to be too fat. For most of our history, it was necessary to run, hunt, and avoid being prey. Therefore, fat storage had to be highly regulated and it still is. When a person typically tries to lose weight, the body tries to gain it back, resulting in what is commonly known as yo-yo dieting. Because of this, it has long been theorized that there is a “set point” and there must be a hormone that determines this.

Science now believes that leptin is that hormone. So in order to break the yo-yo cycle, one must control leptin. If a person is getting too fat, the extra fat produces more leptin that is suppose to tell the brain there is too much fat stored and the excess should be burned. Signals are then sent to the hypothalamus to stop being hungry, stop eating, stop storing fat, and start burning off some extra fat. Controlling hunger is a major way that leptin controls energy storage. Hunger is a very powerful drive that will make you do all you can to eat if it is stimulated long enough.

The only way to eat less in the long-term is to not be hungry and the only way to do this is to control the hormones that regulate hunger. The primary hormone that does this is leptin. It has recently been found that leptin not only changes brain chemistry, but can also rewire the neurons in areas of the brain that control hunger and metabolism to do its bidding. The inability of the body to hear leptin’s signals plays significant and even primary roles in heart disease, obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, reproductive disorders, cancer, and even the rate of aging itself.

In a process called glycation, glucose reacts with protein which results in sticky, sugar-damaged proteins called advanced glycated end products, or AGEs for short. When protein is damaged, it can’t function or communicate properly. AGEs promote excessive inflammation and free radical damage. AGEs and free radicals from oxidation are two of the major molecular mechanisms that cause damage which leads to aging. AGEs cause skin and the lining of arteries to wrinkle and inflame, which contributes to plaque and heart attacks. They can also promote the formation of cataracts and macular degeneration leading eventually to blindness.

The glycation process has also been connected with the destruction of proteins and nerve cells that may lead to Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, and a variety of neuropathies. Glycation and oxidation are two of the major molecular mechanisms where damage accrues, disease occurs, and death results. High blood sugar can suppress your immune system, making you more vulnerable to infection and cancer. Highly aggressive cancers outpace the availability of oxygen and therefore must use an anaerobic fuel, in the form of glucose. By consuming glucose (sugar), we feed cancer. Lastly, high blood levels of sugar form non-fiber carbohydrates and excess protein send leptin and insulin levels upward.

If there is a known marker for long life, it is low insulin levels. Insulin’s purpose is not only to regulate blood sugar, but to store excess energy for future times of need. Insulin also lowers blood glucose levels as a side effect from storing it away, not regulating it. Today, high glucose is quite normal, as our insulin levels are typically much higher than they were among our ancestors. When you are constantly bombarding your cells with insulin, they become insulin resistant. This causes insulin levels to rise, creating a hormonal derangement that has a catastrophic effect on the metabolism.

High insulin contributes to making you fat because it tells your cells to store nutrients as fat rather than to burn it. Repeated high levels of insulin cause insulin resistance. The more fat the body accumulates the more leptin the body can produce so fat works against to slow down insulin production causing insulin resistance..

High insulin causes the retention of sodium, fluid retention, excretion of magnesium, elevated blood pressure, cognitive heart failure, blood clotting, and arterial plaque formation. Heart attacks are much more likely to happen after a meal that is high in carbohydrates than after one that is high in fat. This triggers a stress response which can cause arterial spasm, constriction of arteries, elevated blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and sudden death. Insulin resistance along with low magnesium keeps you from metabolizing important fatty acids that are vital to your heart health in general.

As critical as insulin is in your health, leptin may even be more so. Leptin plays a significant role in obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. But there are clues as to how to live a long and healthy life which brings us back to fat and leptin and our need to control it. One can control their insulin production and fat by dietary changes and blood sugar supplements.



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Is Wild Yam Natures Progesterone?
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Date: November 15, 2007 07:20 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Is Wild Yam Natures Progesterone?

Dioscorea villosa, commonly known as wild yam, is a tuberous vine native to North America and parts of Central America. It was used by the Mayan and Aztec civilizations for pain relief and birth control and has also been given the names colic root and rheumatism root, demonstrating this early use of the plant. However, whether it is nature’s progesterone or not is another question that requires close analysis.

These Central American civilizations, of course, did not understand the reason why they were effective. Some of the symptoms treated can be caused by the menopause, and the wild yam is believed to contain natural forms of progesterone that can alleviate some of the adverse effects of the menopause on the body. Like most plants, they also likely act as anti-inflammatories, so relieving the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.

Like any natural remedy, wild yam had its adherents and its detractors, though in recent years the plant has been used as the raw material for the production of cortisone and a form of progesterone: or at least so it is claimed, so let’s have a closer look at these claims and determine whether or not wild yam is indeed nature’s progesterone.

The human body uses organic compounds called hormones to regulate many of the chemical activities of the body. The hormones catalyze the chemical reactions and changes needed for the proper functioning of our bodies. Hormones are produced in small chemical factories dotted throughout our body called glands. Each gland is devoted to producing a specific hormone, or a range of them, and each hormone is designed for a specific purpose.

Each has an associated hormone ‘receptor’ at their targeted destination that fits the hormone like a jigsaw piece. When it turns up, the hormone attaches to the receptor and the reaction proceeds. That might be the initiation of energy production in cells, the activation of certain genes or even the stimulation of hair growth by the follicles or of the libido and the natural desire to procreate.

Hormones are manufactured from only three constituents: proteins, amino acids and cholesterol, and the steroidal sex hormones are created from cholesterol. Therefore, don’t reduce your cholesterol level too much!

Prior to puberty, all of the sex hormones are manufactured by the adrenal glands, and after puberty by the ovaries in women and the testes in men. Progesterone is produced initially, and is then used as the building block for all the other sex hormones (hence the prefix ‘pro’). In women these are the estrogens and in males the androgens. Progesterone is made from the start of the menstrual cycle, and after day 12 they have reached a high enough level to halt ovulation. Progesterone levels continue to rise for about 8 days, and then if fertilization has not occurred, the progesterone levels trigger menstruation, and the lining of the womb is detached and expelled.

During certain phases of the menstrual cycle, the levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone drop off, although the exact reason for the many and varied symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) are still unknown to a large extend. There appear to be several contributing factors, though estrogen and progesterone certainly appear to be two of the major ones. We shall concentrate here on the progesterone factor because that is what wild yam is claimed to address.

Although the main function of progesterone is to generate estrogen and testosterone, to restore the libido after menstruation, and maintain the integrity of the lining of the uterus and aid in gestation, it has many other purposes such as in thermogenesis (burning of body fats), protection against osteoporosis and is also believed to have a natural anti-depressant action. These are all supported by the symptoms that appear when the body is low in progesterone levels: depression, sudden increase in body fat, mood swings, loss of sex drive and a susceptibility to weak bones if the deficiency is long-term.

In other words, women that usually suffer from PMS, also generally suffer low progesterone levels. It is believed in some quarters that a progesterone deficiency causes an excess of estrogen that leads to these symptoms in addition to heart disease. No one really knows for sure, but a deficiency of progesterone seems to be the determining factor.

Women with menstrual problems continue to be issued with prescribed synthetic progesterone even though they do not have the same effect as natural progesterone. They can also lead to some unpleasant side effects such as fluid retention, strokes, jaundice, blood clots and depression: some of the symptoms it is intended to alleviate. Some take borage or evening primrose oil for the GLA that helps some of the effects, but this is taken to counter the over-production of the hormone prolactin in some women prior to menstruation, not a deficiency of progesterone.

Wild yam does not cause these symptoms, and is claimed by many to be very effective in alleviating the symptoms of PMS. The problem with the artificial forms of progesterone is that the liver’s job is to destroy foreign hormones, and send them to the digestive tract for expulsion. Natural hormones are not affected in this way, even if they come from a non-human source.

The chemical diosgenin in wild yam is very similar in structure to progesterone, and is believed to be the active principle. It is claimed that it can be used to produce not only progesterone but also other related hormones. However, some medical authorities and practitioners dispute this claim, and there is still a question as to how wild yam works. Because it does work, many people swear by it and claim that they could not live without it.

This is especially true of those that suffer from the more severe effects of PMS, and since wild yam does not work for everybody, it could be connected with the severity of the condition and the symptoms. Whichever is true, there appears to be little doubt in the eyes of those that use it as a cream that wild yam is indeed nature’s progesterone.

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Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally
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Date: March 28, 2007 10:29 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally

Regulating Blood Pressure Naturally

 

High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) affects about 65 million Americans, or about 1 in 3 adults. There are many potential causes of hypertension, but not necessarily any symptoms. In fact, 30% of the people who have high blood pressure don’t even realize it.

In other words, just because you don’t have symptoms doesn’t mean you don’t have high blood pressure. That’s why it’s called “The Silent Killer.” And, make no mistake about it: high blood pressure is dangerous. It is the number one modifiable cause of stroke. Just lowering blood pressure reduces the chance of stroke by 35 to 40 percent. Other conditions, including heart attack and heart failure can be reduced from 25 to 50 percent, respectively.

In this issue of Ask the Doctor, we’re going to talk about high blood pressure and an exciting natural treatment for lowering blood pressure safely and effectively.

Of course, changing blood pressure numbers depends, in a large part, on the choices we make every day – how much we exercise, the foods we eat, and our lifestyle overall. But, for those times we need extra help, there is a new, scientifically-studied supplement to help us along our path to better health and lower blood pressure.

 

Blood pressure guidelines from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.

Category

Systolic (mm/Hg)

Diastolic (mm/Hg)

Result

Normal

Less than 120

And Less than 80

Excellent!

Prehypertension

120-139

Or 80-89

Make changes in eating and drinking habits, get more exercise and lose any extra pounds.

Hypertension

140 or higher

Or 90 or higher

You have high blood pressure. Talk to your healthcare professional on how to control it.

 

Q. What exactly is blood pressure?

A. Blood pressure is divided into two parts, systolic and diastolic. Systolic is the pressure of the heart beating. Diastolic is the pressure of the heart and vessels filling. When blood pressure numbers are written out, like “120/80,” 120 is the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure. The unit of measurement for blood pressure is millimeters of mercury, written as “mm/Hg.”

 

Q. What is considered high blood pressure?

A. A person’s blood pressure can naturally vary throughout the day – even between heartbeats.

However, if the numbers are consistently high (over 120 systolic and 80 diastolic), after multiple visits to your healthcare practitioner, you may have either pre-hypertension or high blood pressure.

Young arteries and arteries that are kept young through healthy diet and exercise are typically more elastic and unclogged. Blood flows through them easily and without much effort. However, as we age, our arteries become more prone to plaque buildup (due to diets high in saturated fat and sedentary lifestyles) and don’t “flex” as well under pressure. The result is faster blood flow, all the time. Over the long term, it damages heart tissue, arteries, kidney and other major organs.

To get a better idea of high blood pressure, compare your arteries to a garden hose. When unblocked, a garden hose allows water to flow through it quickly and easily – without any real rush or stress. However, if you block the end of the hose with your thumb, closing it off even a little, water rushes out much more quickly.

For many years, high diastolic pressure was considered even more of a threat than high systolic pressure. That thinking has changed somewhat but high diastolic numbers could still mean organ damage in your body – especially for individuals under 50.

 

Q. What courses high blood pressure?

A. The reasons for hypertension aren’t always clear. However, there are lifestyle factors that contribute to high blood pressure that you can change:

 

Body type: Weight isn’t always a reliable indicator of whether or not you’ll have high blood pressure – but the type of weight is. Lean body mass – muscle – doesn’t increase blood pressure levels the way that fat can. However, fat body mass, especially fat around your middle, can contribute to high blood pressure.

 

Sedentary lifestyle: Too often, many of us sit down all day at work, and then sit down all night at home. Over time, this inactivity usually leads to weight gain, making the heart work harder to pump blood through the body. In a way, it almost seems contradictory, but inactivity usually leads to higher heart rates.

 

Sodium intake: Sometimes it’s hard to believe how much salt there is in processed foods. However, salt intake in itself is not necessarily bad. For people with a history of congestive heart failure, ischemia, and high blood pressure, sodium is definitely out. For those individuals, it leads to more water retention, which increases blood pressure. (Salt’s effect on water retention is one reason that so many sports drinks have fairly high sodium content – the sodium in the drink prevents your body from sweating out too much water.) But, for healthy individuals, moderate salt intake, especially a mixed mineral salt like sea salt or Celtic salt (good salt should never be white) is fine.

 

Low potassium intake: Unlike sodium, potassium is a mineral which most Americans get too little of. Potassium helps regulate the amount of sodium in our cells, expelling excess amounts through the kidneys. Low levels of this mineral can allow too much sodium to build up in the body.

 

Heavy alcohol intake: Having three or more alcoholic drinks a day (two or more for women) nearly doubles an individual’s chance of developing high blood pressure. Over time, heavy drinking puts a lot of stress on the organs, including the heart, liver, pancreas and brain.

 

Unhealthy eating: Eating a lot of processed or fatty foods contributes to high blood pressure. Adapting a diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, fish, nuts and magnesium and potassium (like the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, known as the “DASH” diet) can bring it back down.

 

Smoking: If you smoke, stop. Smoking damages the heart and arteries – period. Nicotine constricts blood vessels, increases heart rate, and raises blood pressure. This in turn, increases hormone production and adrenaline levels, further stressing the body.

 

As if that weren’t bad enough, the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke replaces the oxygen in the blood, making the heart work even harder to make up the difference. Since the effect of a single cigarette can last for an hour, smoking throughout the day leads to continuously revved-up blood pressure.

 

Some of these factors might sound like a lot to overcome. The important thing to remember is that all of these behaviors are changeable. If you have high blood pressure, modifying any of these can significantly lower blood pressure as part of an overall plan.

 

Q. What are the blood pressure numbers I should see?

A. Experts consider healthy blood pressure numbers to be 115/75 mm/Hg. The reason? They found that the risk of cardiovascular disease doubles at each increment of 20/10 mmHg over 115/75 mm/Hg. Even small jumps in blood pressure numbers increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.

 

Q. Okay, so other than diet, exercise and lifestyle changes are there other natural ways or supplements I can use to lower my blood pressure?

A. Yes, in fact, you hear about some of them in the news all the time – fish oil, CoQ10, and garlic. As effective as these symptoms are, they typically lower systolic pressure much more than diastolic pressure.

However, there is a blend of scientifically and clinically studied natural ingredients that lower high blood pressure separately, and work even better when they’re combined. This combination blend contains: dandelion leaf extract, lycopene, stevia extract, olive leaf extract and hawthorn extract.

Every one of these ingredients has been studied and recommended for years. But now, a scientific study on a supplement that combines them in one synergistic formula shows encouraging results for lowering systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Let’s take a look at each:

Stevia leaf extract

Supports healthy blood pressure levels according to clinical studies.

Hawthorn extract

Supports the heart and balance sodium and fluid levels.

Olive leaf extract

Scientifically shown to support healthy blood pressure.

Dandelion leaf

Helps reduce fluid retention

Lycopene

Clinically shown to support arteries, circulation and heart health.

 

Stevia:

Stevia (Stevia rebaudiana) originated in South America, and is often used as a sweetener. Glycosides in stevia, particularly stevoside, give the plan its sweet flavor 0 anywhere from 100 to 200 times sweeter than sugar.

The leaf of stevia is considered the medicinal part of the plant. Research shows that extracts of the leaf relax arteries and help prevent the buildup of calcium on artery walls – keeping them healthy and reducing blood pressure.

In a long-term, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. On average, participants’ blood pressure reduced from baseline 150 mm/Hg to 140 mm/Hg systolic and 95 mm/Hg to 89 mm/Hg diastolic.

And, in another double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, stevia lowered blood pressure quite significantly – by an average of 14 millimeters of mercury in both systolic and diastolic readings. Those are impressive numbers!

Despite its role as a sweetener, stevia may have a side benefit to for those with hypertension – blood sugar regulation. Scientific studies show that extracts of stevia regulated blood sugar and reduced blood pressure.

A clinical study showed that stevia extract actually improved glucose tolerance by decreasing plasma glucose levels during the test and after overnight fasting in all participants. Regulating blood sugar is very important for those with high blood pressure. When blood sugar levels are high, blood vessels are inflamed. Many people with diabetes have high blood pressure as well. In a paired, cross-over clinical study, stevioside (one of the compounds in stevia) reduced glucose levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. It shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes. Further scientific studies show that stevia works to control blood sugar levels by stimulating insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta cells. Its shows great potential in treating type 2 diabetes as well as hypertension.

 

Hawthorn extract:

Hawthorn (Crataegus spp. Oxycantha) has been used since ancient ties as a medicinal herb – even being mentioned by the Greek herbalist Dioscorides, in the first century AD. Traditionally, it has generally been used for support of the heart. Modern research points to bioflavonoid-like complexes in hawthorn leaf and flower that seem to be most responsible for its benefits on cardiac health, like blood vessel elasticity.

The bioflavonoids found in hawthorn include oligomeric procyanidins, vitexin, quercetin, and hyperoside. They have numerous benefits on the cardiovascular system. Hawthorn can improve coronary artery blood flow and the contractions of the heart muscle. Scientific studies show that the procyanidins in hawthorn are responsible for its ability to make the aorta and other blood vessels more flexible and relaxed, so that blood pumps more slowly and with less effort – sparing the cardiovascular system such a hard workout.

The procyanidins in hawthorn also have antioxidant properties – protecting against free radical cellular damage.

And, hawthorn may also inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme. Angiotensin-converting enzyme is responsible for retaining sodium and water, and may have roots in our evolutionary development. It influences blood vessel contraction and dilation, sodium and water balance and heart cell development – just about everything that has to do with blood pressure. This may have developed as a way of dealing with periods of drought and stress. By narrowing the blood vessels, the body could guarantee an adequate supply of blood and focus on repairing tissue.

Unfortunately, that can lead to real problems these days. Since many of us live in an industrialized society, and frequently have pretty sedentary lifestyles, conserving sodium just makes the conditions for high blood pressure that much worse.

Like the other ingredients in this combination, hawthorn showed benefits on other body systems, too. In clinical and scientific studies, it not only lowered blood pressure, but also showed anti-anxiety properties and regulated blood sugar.

 

Olive leaf extract:

Olive leaf (Olea europaea) comes up again and again in scientific and clinical studies as having beneficial effects on hypertension. One of olive leaf’s most beneficial compounds is oleuropein – the same compound that makes olive oil so helpful in reducing blood pressure. Here again, we have to look at the traditional Mediterranean diet, which features voluminous use of olives and olive oil. Not surprisingly, blood pressure is generally much lower in Greek and Italian populations.

But it’s not just the diet – scientific studies showed that oleuropein lowered blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels and prevented buildup of plaque in arteries. Plus, whether in olive leaf extract or in olive oil, oleuropein works as an antioxidant, too.

 

Dandelion leaf extract:

Dandelion (Taraxacum offinale) leaves provide a healthy supply of vitamins, much like spinach. In fact, although it has become the bane of North American gardeners and lawn owners, dandelion greens are a component of many gourmet salads.

Medicinally, dandelion has been used for centuries, dating back to ancient Greece. Leaves intended for medicinal use are harvested before flowering, to ensure the most nutrients.

They are a very rich source of vitamin A, and contain vitamin D, vitamin C, carious B vitamins, iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc and manganese, too. Dandelion leaves produce a diuretic effect in the body, similar to a prescription drug. Since one of dandelion leaf’s traditional uses was the treatment of water retention, it’s really not too surprising. Dandelion leaf is also rich in potassium – one of the vital minerals many Americans lack in their diet. So, even though it may act as a diuretic, it replaces more potassium than the body expels.

The diuretic effect of dandelion can relieve hypertension by drawing excess water and sodium from the body and releasing it through the kidneys as urine. Getting rid of extra water and sodium allows the blood vessels to relax – lowering blood pressure.

 

Lycopene:

If a nutrient can be called exciting, lycopene is it. Lycopene is found mostly in tomatoes and processed tomato products, like pasta and pizza sauce. Related to beta-carotene lycopene shows great antioxidant abilities among its many talents. In fact, it shows even greater free-radical scavenging properties than beta-carotene, its more famous cousin. Healthy intakes of lycopene can guard against a variety of chronic conditions, including lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol, lowering homocysteine levels and reducing blood platelet stickiness that can lead to clogged arteries. It’s even being studied for its protective effect against prostate cancer.

And, for proof, you don’t have to look too far to see the amazing effect lycopene intake can have on health. The Mediterranean diet provides an excellent example. Its high intakes of vegetables, (tomatoes, of course, playing a central role) fish, and whole grains improve cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure. The research on lycopene as a stand-alone nutrient has been compelling. A randomized clinical trial found that not having enough lycopene was associated with early thickening of the arteries.

So, it makes sense that other clinical trials, showed that higher intakes of lycopene frequently meant less thickening of arteries, and a reduced risk of heart attack. In one study, the risk of heart attack was 60% lower in individuals with the highest levels of lycopene. In a multicenter study, similar results were found – men with the highest levels of lycopene had a 48% lower risk of heart attack.

 

Q. What can I expect taking this herbal combination?

A. You should notice both systolic and diastolic numbers lowering in about two weeks. The scientific study showed that for pre-hypertensive and stage I, (early hypertensive individuals) this combination for ingredients lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

When you’re taking herbs to support your blood pressure, it’s important to keep it monitored so you have an accurate reading (and record) of your numbers. If you need to, you can pick up a home blood pressure monitoring device. These can retail for anywhere from $30 all the way up to $200, but buying one in the $30 to $50 range is a good idea and money well spent. Consider taking the machine to your local doctor’s office or fire department to have it tested for accuracy against a professional blood pressure monitor. See the chart below for tips on getting an accurate reading from a home monitor.

 

Tips for Accurate Blood Pressure Monitoring:

-Relax for about 5 to 10 minutes before measurement.

-If you have just come inside from cold outdoors allow yourself to warm up.

-Remove tight-fitting clothing and jewelry.

-Unless your physician recommends otherwise, use left arm to measure pressure.

-Sit, don’t stand.

-Remain still and do not talk while using the monitor.

 

Q. Are there any side effects?

A. There were no side effects noted in the study. However, because of the mild diuretic effect of dandelion leaf extract, you may notice an increase in trips to the bathroom. It’s always important to make sure you don’t get dehydrated, so you may want to drink more water during the day.

 

Conclusion:

High blood pressure doesn’t happen overnight. As we get older, the likelihood of developing hypertension increases. And, stressful, fast-forward lifestyles, bad diets and no exercise conspire to raise our blood pressure.

 

In my own practice I have helped patients move toward a healthier lifestyle, including diet, exercise, and blood-pressure reducing supplements. They live better, more vibrant lives as a result, and their blood pressure normalizes. It really can happen – you can bring your blood pressure back to normal, and this combination of scientifically and clinically validated ingredients can help.



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WHY DO SO MANYWOMEN SUFFER FROM HORMONE IMBALANCES?
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Date: July 25, 2005 10:06 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
Subject: WHY DO SO MANYWOMEN SUFFER FROM HORMONE IMBALANCES?

WHY DO SO MANYWOMEN SUFFER FROM HORMONE IMBALANCES?

The question of why so many women, young and old, suffer from a hormonal imbalance persists. Today’s environment and life style are certainly significant causal factors and explain, to a great degree why even young, seemingly healthy women may experience a lack of progesterone.

Dr. Peter Elliston of the Harvard Anthropology Department found through one of his studies of 18 women who all had regular menstrual cycles that seven of them did not experience a mid cycle increase in progesterone levels, suggesting that ovulation did not actually occur.12 Dr. Lee cites this as yet another example of the widespread incidence of anovulatory cycles occurring in young women throughout this country, a fact which is undoubtedly linked to rising infertility rates in the United States. Eating disorders, poor nutrition, widespread use of birth control pills, stress, pollution, etc., contribute to hormonally-related disorders and most certainly affect progesterone production, the ability to conceive and menopausal transitions.

CAUSES OF HORMONE IMBALANCES

  • • stress
  • • environmental pollution
  • • ingested toxins
  • • nutritional deficiencies
  • • birth control pills
  • • synthetic hormones
  • • menopause
  • • xenoestrogens (substances which act like estrogen in the body such as
  • • (certain pollutants)

  • • hormonal residue in animal meats It’s relatively easy to determine if your hormones are out of balance and if you are lacking progesterone. One of the key symptoms of a progesterone deficiency is the presence of PMS. Even a young, relatively healthy woman can suffer from a lack of progesterone. In addition, we live in a world full of toxins, food additives and hormonally fattened meats.

    Dr. Lee believes that widespread use of the birth control pill has caused the ovaries to be compromised, possibly playing a role in the development of PMS that would normally not exist.13 Documented results from using natural progesterone have been impressive but remain relatively unknown by the majority of women. Progesterone therapy can help relieve the following PMS symptoms: breast engorgement, breast tenderness, irritability, headaches, depression, moodiness, fatigue, anxiety, bloating, water retention, cramps, and irregular periods.

    Dr. Joel T. Hargrove of Vanderbilt University Medical Center has had some very impressive results using natural progesterone to treat his patients with PMS. He has had a 90 percent success rate using this form of progesterone.14 Interestingly, he used oral progesterone which had to be administered in a much heavier dose to achieve the same results Dr. Lee obtained with transdermal progesterone.15

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    SYMPTOMS OF AN ESTROGEN DOMINANCE
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    Date: July 25, 2005 09:47 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: SYMPTOMS OF AN ESTROGEN DOMINANCE

    SYMPTOMS OF AN ESTROGEN DOMINANCE

    Aside from having your blood or saliva tested, it is relatively easy to assess whether or not you may be suffering from an estrogen dominance. The following symptoms are typical of excess estrogen and progesterone depletion: breast enlargement and tenderness, water retention, heavy menstrual flow or irregular periods, carbohydrate cravings, weight gain (fat on hips and thighs), fibrocystic breasts, uterine fibroids, loss of libido, PMS, mood swings/depression, and certain types of acne.

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    The Management of PMS and Ginkgo
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    Date: June 25, 2005 12:35 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: The Management of PMS and Ginkgo

    The Management of PMS and Ginkgo

    Symptoms of PMS usually include water retention, breast tenderness and vascular congestion. One hundred sixty-five women between the ages of 18 and 45 who suffered from significant PMS were tested with ginkgo, which was given from the 16th day of the first cycle to the 5th day of the next. Test studies confirmed that ginkgo was effective against various symptoms of PMS, particularly b reast changes. In addition, mental and emotional symptoms associated with PMS also decreased.15 Because Ginkgo is so safe to use, it may be very beneficial for women who have used drug therapy for PMS that had undesirable side effects.

    Ginkgo: An Update

    Ginkgo is currently being studied as a safer substitute for antirejection drugs which are routinely given to recipients of transplanted organs. Ginkgolide, the active component of ginkgo, somehow inhibits a chemical found in the body called PAF (platelet activating factor) which plays a role in organ rejection. It may also prove beneficial for congestive heart failure, angina, shock, multiple sclerosis and burns.

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    The Science of Healthy Hair
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    Date: June 10, 2005 03:44 PM
    Author: Darrell Miller (dm@vitanetonline.com)
    Subject: The Science of Healthy Hair

    The Science of Healthy Hair

    by Susan Weiner Energy Times, January 5, 2002

    From the strength-giving mane of Sampson to the magically long locks of Rapunzel, hair has had the power to captivate since biblical times. Today, its lure is just as compelling and hair remains an important form of self-expression and self-image. A healthy head of hair is more than an asset to your appearance. A hairstyle can reflect a mood, an attitude or a personal style, while unkempt hair may reveal the status of one's emotional or physical health. Even a "good" hair day vs. a "bad" hair day can significantly determine how your frame of mind takes shape. We can't always control the frizz factor or the humid weather that makes our curls fall flat, but many natural approaches are available to allow us to put our best looking follicle forward. Whether your hair is sleek and stylish, long and slinky, spiky punk rock-hip or wash-and-wear, botanical-based products and proper nutrition can bring out the very best in your locks.

    Don't Fool Mother Nature

    No matter how often you cut, dye, perm or blow-dry your hair, Mother Nature, with the help of your DNA, has blessed you with a quite specific quality and quantity of hair. Styling may work to change the appearance of your hair, but nothing can change your genetics. Every hair on your body, from the soft down on your arms to the coarser, longer hairs on your head, grows from a cell-lined indentation called a follicle. The hair follicle consists of three cylinders; the central cylinder determines whether your hair is straight, wavy or curly. Each hair shaft alternately grows or goes into a dormant phase. "At any one time, approximately fifteen percent of the one hundred thousand or so hairs on the head are resting, while the rest are growing or lengthening," say Arthur Balin, MD, PhD, and Loretta Pratt Balin, MD (The Life of the Skin: What It Hides, What It Reveals, and How It Communicates, Bantam). Hair constantly comes and goes, falling out consistently even when it is healthy. Consequently, a normal head can shed up to one hundred resting-phase hairs a day. When hair is subjected to harsh chemicals and treatment, even more may fall out. If you're concerned with hair loss, gently pull on a small section of hair; if fewer than five hairs come out, hair loss is within normal range.

    What's Your Type?

    Normal hair is an elusive commodity in these stressed-out days of over-washed, over-dried and chemically treated hair. If your tresses look frizzy, tangle easily or generally lack moisture, they're probably dry. Dry hair lacks the proper oil content to maintain an ample sheen and is usually dull-looking. To gain back a natural shine, cut back on shampooing and use a natural conditioner formulated for dry hair. Look for essential oils such as jojoba, evening primrose, blue chamomile, and white camellia, and B vitamins (such as panthenol) and aloe vera, suggests Aubrey Hampton, founder of Aubrey Organics. Drinking plenty of water, eating a diet that's not ultra-low in fats and using a humidifier may also help improve dull-looking dry hair, points out David E. Bank, MD (Beautiful Skin: Every Woman's Guide to Looking Her Best at Any Age, Adams Media). (Excessively dry hair may be a significant sign of metabolic disease. If you don't notice a marked improvement in your scalp after taking measures to improve dry hair, or your hair is abnormally dry, consult your health practitioner to see if stronger cures should be implemented.)

    Too Much Oil

    Hair that appears greasy within 24 hours after shampooing is oily. In that case, try gentle shampoos and herbal rinses with essential oils including quillaya bark, amino acids mixed with saponins, non-coloring henna and peppermint. For an oily scalp and dry ends, condition only the ends. Styling products should be oil-free. For thin or flyaway hair, products with natural thickening agents such as panthenol can help pump up the volume. Color treated and damaged hair can benefit from sulfur-containing amino acids; check your natural foods store for hair care products that contain horsetail, coltsfoot and cysteine. Tea tree oil products are effective when you are trying to control dandruff and a problem scalp.

    The Must-To-Avoids

    If the label lists sodium lauryl sulfate, steer clear, warns Hampton. And, says Dr. Bank, sodium C-14-16 olefin sulfonate, a harsh chemical found in cheap shampoos, is the worst of the worst when it comes to offensive hair care ingredients. "You also need to watch out for sodium chloride-table salt-in the ingredient list. It's a cheap ingredient to thicken shampoo and strips the hair of oils."

    Feed Your Head

    To optimize shine and fullness, improve your nutrition, says Bruce Miller, MD, author of The Nutrition Guarantee (Summit Publishing Group). "Good nutrition is as essential to healthy, attractive hair as it is to clear, glowing skin," notes Dr. Miller. "Your hair directly reflects your care and feeding of it." Your hair consists of about 97% protein, containing nineteen of the twenty-two amino acids that form protein, explains Dr. Miller. If you skimp on quality protein, your hair may reflect this amino acid imbalance by breaking, cracking and splitting. Hair follicles pass on the nutrients you consume, nourishing the new cells that form the growing hair shaft. As the hair gradually pushes upward, the shaft is continually lubricated by the busy sebaceous glands. For a smoother transition through the shaft and undamaged hair, lecithin provides a welcome dose of lubrication, as well as the important B vitamins choline and inositol, vital to healthy hair. In fact, the B vitamins are crucial to the growth of full bodied, healthy hair. The B complex strengthens, forms and smoothes the hair shafts, and helps maintain an even hair color, even warding off the beginning of gray hair. For thick and shiny hair, vitamin A works in conjunction with the B vitamins. Zinc can strengthen the hair shafts by thickening them. Thicker and stronger hair shafts increase your chances of holding on to your hair and suffering fewer lost hairs. When it comes to hair retention, genetics count. The more hair your parents retained, the greater your chance of keeping yours.

    Think Diet

    If you're interested in optimal hair health, think nutrition. Eating for the sake of your curls is a lot like eating for overall health: plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy grains and lean sources of protein, including tofu and other soy-based foodstuffs. To support healthy hair, some experts advocate foods high in biotin, including brown rice, brewer's yeast, bulgur, green peas, lentils, oats, soybeans, sunflower seeds and walnuts. The natural phytochemicals in green tea may aid hair, while ginkgo biloba improves circulation to the scalp. Don't forget your daily vitamins and be sure to take an iron and B12 supplement.

    Chinese Treatment

    Herbs from China show great promise for helping hair. He Shou Wu, made from Polygoni multiflori (the eastern wild rose), is reputed by devotees to restore color, slow hair loss, and help hair grow back. In Chinese medicine, this botanical has been used as an adaptogen to boost overall health and longevity. Within the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), He Shou Wu is supposed to strengthen the liver and kidney meridians and support healthy blood. Many Asians use the herb to promote higher levels of qi, the TCM concept that encompasses your life's overall energy.

    Show a Little Tenderness

    Long-term exposure to sunlight and seawater can damage hair, as can combing or brushing wet hair. Treat your hair with kid gloves, use natural products that are gentle on hair, and avoid chemical treatments. If you're looking to lose weight, avoid crash diets; a sudden drop in nutrition can cause deficiencies and lead to hair damage and loss. Keeping a wonderful head of hair means staying ahead of the curve with proper nutrition, the right supplements and a continuous program of TLC. In that way, you can maintain the crowning head of hair you've always coveted.



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